Sneaky Smoothies: How I Became a Blender-Wielding Vitamin Pusher

My kids think I’m the Best Mom Ever because I’ve been making them smoothies for breakfast.

I’m glad they think I’m wonderful. But really, I just want them to take their fish oil.

Their dentist said no more gummy anything, ever, so we traded our Omega-3 Gummies for icky-tasting liquid. I wanted to find a painless way to get my kids to take it.

Smoothies are the answer: the fruit masks the taste of the fish oil, and my kids are always excited to get smoothies.

But fish oil turned out to be my gateway supplement. Emboldened my success, I started getting creative: first I tried adding spinach, then kale. I experimented with almond butter and coconut oil. And now I’m researching parsley, kefir and vitamin D.

After a few weeks of smoothie-making, I started letting my kids help. Now they know they’re drinking kale and fish oil–they’re the ones dumping them in the blender pitcher. But they already know these smoothies taste good and they’re drinking them down anyway.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up in my month of smoothie making:

Buy a good fish oil. It may not taste good enough to drink plain, but don’t put anything truly terrible in your smoothie. I’m happy with theย  lemon-flavored Carlson for Kids Fish Oil I ordered after reading the reviews on Vitacost.

Start small. When you’re starting with a new sneaky ingredient–like fish oil or spinach–just add a little bit, and use a little more each day until you’re where you want to be.

Blueberries and blackberries turn your smoothie purple, even if it’s loaded with greens.

Don’t pay too much attention to recipes. Use them for inspiration, and balance the frozen and liquid ingredients to get the consistency you want for your smoothie.

Water works. You don’t have to use juice or milk as your liquid. Water works just fine for many recipes.

Watch the glycemic index. If my kids only had a fruit and juice smoothie for breakfast, they’d have a mid-morning meltdown. I add fat and protein to our smoothies (or have them grab a hard-boiled egg) to avoid a blood sugar crash an hour later.

The order you add the ingredients in matters. Blend greens thoroughly with water or juice before adding other ingredients. Add fish oil after you’ve added an ingredient that gives the smoothie body (like frozen fruit or a banana), or it will end up at the bottom of your blender and not in your smoothie. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec the order really doesn’t matter. (I use a $50 Braun PowerMax, which was recommended by Cooks Illustrated as a “Best Buy,” and I’d urge you to buy one immediately but they’re not available on Amazon right now.)

Here are some ideas for smoothie ingredients beyond frozen fruit and juice:

  • Fish oil
  • Nut butters
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards and parsley.
  • Shredded carrots
  • Protein powder
  • Extracts, like almond or vanilla

Here are some of our favorite combinations (all with fish oil):

  • coconut milk, frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, banana, coconut oil
  • orange juice, kale, raspberries, banana, almond butter
  • water, spinach, mixed berries, banana, coconut oil

Do you make smoothies? Got any ideas for other supplements I should be sneaking into my family’s smoothies?


Leave A Comment
  1. Amy says:

    I love smoothies! Spinach is the only thing I’ve snuck in so far. I’ll have to get some of that fish oil! Where do you get it?

    • Anne says:

      I got mine from Vitacost, and Amazon has a nice selection too. My local Whole Foods has liquid fish oil, but my Kroger doesn’t carry it (at least not yet!).

  2. annette standrod says:

    found that using frozen kale and spinach works well. Your blender probably chops fresh leaves well though.

    • Anne says:

      That’s great to know. We always have baby spinach on hand, but not kale. I’ve bought the ready-to-cook bags of kale at Trader Joe’s and I’ve wondered how it would blend if I froze it for later instead of using it all at once.

      • Andi says:

        I almost always freeze my kale. Actually, I freeze pretty much everything. My usual go-to smoothie is: coconut water, peanut butter or almond butter, a bit of cocoa powder (not the sweetened stuff, just the powder), banana (I break them into pieces and then freeze them in baggies), kale or spinach (I also freeze the kale in baggies), handful of frozen blueberries and a handful of frozen strawberries. Occasionally, I’ll toss in some flax or chia seeds. Since most of my ingredients are frozen, it makes the whole thing super cold and creamy.

  3. Katie says:

    You might still want to research out coconut oil. In my mom’s research she has found that olive and fish oil are the only ones that your body cannot use the others. That is great that you have found some great ways for your kids to take supplements. One thing that I have tried to put in my diet has been flax (ground into a meal). It has kind of a nutty flavor. My mom eats it on fruit and yogurt in the mornings.

  4. Krista Lord says:

    Loved this today. My girls had a green smoothie for breakfast. I do 1 cup coconut milk, 2 scoops vegan protein powder, tbsp of flax seed, spinach and frozen fruit I have on hand. They are 5 and 6 and love them. We do Dr Mercola’s krill oil. You can get it at Vitamin Shoppe or from They are tiny and my girls just swallow them down. They don’t like the liquid so that never worked for us. They take it with their other vitamins.

  5. DFrazzled says:

    I love Buried Treasure’s line of liquid vitamins. Here’s a link to their children’s multi:

    I took their prenatals + DHA during my last pregnancy and loved them! Being in liquid form, this would be a great option for a smoothie. I mixed mine with a 1/2 c. of juice.

    My kids take a chewable multi-vitamin by Isagenix and ask for them every morning.

    Good luck.

  6. Yes! We LOVE smoothies at our house. My 2yo veggie hater gobbles them up. I usually make ours with kefir, coconut milk, spinach/kale, berries, and whole ground flaxseed meal. Such a great way to get those extra nutrients into their bodies – and ours too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thought I’d drop back by to let you know that I read this post yesterday and we all had green smoothies for breakfast today. Delicious. Your tips were very helpful.

    I have a deep sense of triumph knowing that I got my whole family to eat spinach before 8:00 am without a struggle!


  8. Jessica says:

    I just got a vitamix last week and have been experimenting with green smoothies, but I hadn’t thought of adding coconut oil before! I’m definitely going to try this!

  9. Tiffany says:

    Love all the tips!! I will be linking up to you tomorrow because this made it onto HnB’s top 5 Healthy blog posts for this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks !!

  10. Jennifer says:

    I had veggies in my smoothies all the time. In fact I added a bag of spinach to our Shamrock Smoothies just yesterday. I love sneaking in veggies – as much for me as for the kids.

    • Anne says:

      Shamrock smoothies are such a good idea for this time of year–I hadn’t thought of that! And I know what you mean–I never used to make smoothies for me when my kids weren’t around, but today my liquid lunch was loaded up with protein powder, fish oil and kale.

  11. My husband did the grocery shopping yesterday and he said the store was out of bananas (How often does that happen?) so he brought home plantains for our smoothies instead. You know what? I love it with a plantain! Much less sugary and still delicious. Just be sure to use a ripe one.

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  13. Lynne M says:

    I knew that fruit smoothies are great but blending with fish oil sounds a good idea. Maybe I will try smoothie with fish oil so that I could reach my omega 3 daily requirement. I could not purchase with amazon because of the shipping so I will check with other online stores for the fish oil.

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  15. Jenn says:

    We also add uncooked oatmeal and wheat germ to our smoothies! Oh, and mango pulp from our local Indian market – it’s conveniently canned and lasts us an entire week. I suppose you could also freeze the leftover pulp in ice cube trays and use them later. My girls LOVE helping and watching – they get especially excited when we add spinach or kale, as it turns everything a delicious bright green. :). Thanks for your smoothie-making tips!

  16. Kelly says:

    since I’m a complete NEWBIE @ smoothie making, let alone sneaking in veggies & supplements, could you give me a precise recipe with like measurements using kale & frozen strawberries at least, oh & I have flax seed too. I’m just happy to find out on here you CAN freeze Kale, cause when I read about freezing it said no so WOOT Woot!!!! I just want to start out sneaking in small at first to get my 4 boys who won’t even eat my yummy kale chips cuZ they don’t even like lettuce

  17. Selina says:

    Other things I have added : avocado for healthy fat, coconut oil, cucumber, cooked squash, zucchini, pomegranate juice (I’ve read it’s healthier than orange juice), pumpkin…cooked first, edamame…also cooked, plain Greek yogurt….

  18. Gina says:

    Smoothies are my absolute FAV way to sneak veggies into my toddler! I also, like to use kale, coconut oil, almond butter, too. Another thing I love sticking in is Chia Seeds! Thanks for this great post. I am researching lately vitamins for my 2 year old. ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. samju says:

    I make smoothies but never use kale or spinach.
    The cause of kidney stones in unknown (but not fun to have) and although the cause is unknown, one theory is that calcium oxalates from food contribute to kidney stones. Spinach and kale have high amounts of oxalate, so the concentration in a smoothie can be high. Don’t know if there have been long term studies of an increase in kidney stones as the use of green smoothies have increased. I mentioned this to a friend and she did not believe me until she went to a medical spa and they said they never serve kale, it should be used as a garnish, not as a food. You can do your own research, but too much of a “good thing” may not be so good for you. Berries also have oxalates, but not as much as the kale and spinach. I do not know why people that promote green smoothies do not warn people about this possible side effect. Often there is a family hx of stones, but not always, so much unknown, but a precaution you may want to research.

    • Dadupuis says:

      I read that also. My Doctor suggested to use Kale or Spinach every other day to every 3rd day but definitely not every day.

  20. Emily Phillips says:

    I went down this path for myself. Now I add liquid vitamin d, goji berries and match green tea powder. I wouldn’t suggest the last one for kids. It took me a year and a half to invest in a vitamix. I am still experimenting. I also found using organs juice made the plain smoothie last long and I take a little one for lunch.

  21. Dadupuis says:

    I am a newbie. I am just in the researching phase. Though I am getting excited to begin.
    I have diabetes so I have to be extra careful not to create a spike in my blood sugar. In my research I have found that Pomegranate Juice is the best juice of all, especially for cardiovascular health. Flax seeds, Acai berries, goji berries, chia seeds, kefir dandelion roots, milk thistle for liver health, and fish oil are the top ingredients for liver, heart, metabolism, and energy.

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